BRUSSELS, March 23 (UPI) -- Cutting government subsidies for renewable energy programs, particularly in Europe, suggest the green energy sector is coming of age, the IEA director said.
The International Energy Agency said renewable energy makes up about 20 percent of the electricity produced worldwide. That share is expected to pass 30 percent by 2035.
IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven writes in European Energy Review that government incentives have helped green development. As renewable energy becomes more competitive, governments are starting to limit their financial support, she said.
"Observers who attribute these cuts solely to government belt-tightening in an age of austerity are missing the bigger picture," van der Hoeven writes. "Renewable energy is swiftly coming of age, reducing the need for public support."
By comparison, she said, governments spend 20 percent less on renewable energy than they do on conventional fossil fuels.
She writes that, as governments dismantle their subsidy programs, they need to do so in a "careful, selective, smooth, collaborative and transparent" fashion.
"Changes should be implemented in close coordination with industry and other relevant stakeholders, which have their own interests in maintaining the sustainability and health of the market," van der Hoeven writes.